Do Lawyers Take Small Dollar Value Cases?
Often, I am approached by clients that have a dispute with a business. Perhaps a used car broke down soon after it left the lot, and the dealer is refusing to repair it, or a hair salon is refusing to redo a botched dye job. I've also seen personal injury claims where someone has a minor injury that doesn't require medical care and attendance but was clearly caused by someone else's negligence. I've found that these are legitimate claims that would be recognized in a court of law without question.
However, due to the nature of the complaint, sometimes the costs of litigation may outweigh the benefits of a successful lawsuit, or the amount of damages recovered.
I find myself in these situations having to decline a case. Notice what is happening here. This is a business decision honed by 25 years as a practicing attorney. If I am approached a by a prospective client, who has a legitimate claim to recover $1,000, but it will cost them $1500 in attorney's fees to recover that $1,000- I'm going to present them with this assessment, and let the client decide if this something they wish to pursue. It may be, or it may not be. Sometimes vindication of a trampled right is the aim. Notice also these are cold, hard business observations that have nothing to do with the merits, or likelihood of success of a claim.
Hiring a lawyer is not the only choice in these situations. The Maryland Attorney General's office operates a Consumer Protection Division which, according to the office "provides mediation services to consumers to help resolve complaints against businesses and health insurance carriers; provide[s] information about complaints that have been filed against businesses; tell[s] you if your new home builder or health club is properly registered, and provide[s] publications to help you make good decisions in the marketplace".
Attorney General / Consumer Protection Division
While you should always discuss your legal rights with an experienced attorney, if you wish, there may be alternatives to litigation that best suit a particular need.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 2/4/19.